Trench 11 2017 Movie Scene Ted Atherton as Maj. Jennings and Luke Humphrey as Capt. Cooper looking at the bunker from distance

Trench 11 [2017]

What is this? A World War I movie featuring Nazi experiments, deadly infections, parasites, and zombies? You had me at Nazi experiments although they’re technically Central Powers experiments since Nazis became a thing in the next world war. Trench 11 is an expertly crafted, atmospheric, and intriguing indie horror movie. It follows a group of Allied soldiers exploring a German bunker where horrific experiments supposedly took place. So, you know the drill. First, we get to know our combat-weary soldiers before delving into the ominous darkness of the tunnels deep behind enemy lines.

And right away I have to tell you that this isn’t a “shoot those Nazi zombies dead” movie full of action scenes. It’s more of a deliberately-paced and atmospheric horror movie using the claustrophobic setting to generate fear and tension. A claustrophobic setting that looks quite believable, although I think it would be dirtier. So, just because this is an indie effort don’t think it’s going to look bad. The special effects were just as good although there won’t be much gore here. Just a couple of graphic scenes. Trench 11 weaponizes real historical data to further immerse you into the story.

I was quite surprised with its competency as most of the stuff you’re going to see is quite accurate. Just check out these two movies based on actual events, and you’ll see what I mean. Beneath Hill 60 is about an Australian tunneller who has an important mission to carry out while The Lost Battalion takes place in the same Argonne forest as the movie we’re talking about today. My fascination with WWI comes from a video game I absolutely love to play, Battlefield 1. I mention this because we not just see the Trench Gun (Winchester Model 1897 shotgun) in action but also a sentry in real life!

Since these combinations of full metal plate body armor and heavy machine guns (MG 08) appear only in the game, I would assume that someone in the crew is a fan as well. It’s the little things like this that make Trench 11 feel so authentic. And we also shouldn’t forget about the big things. Like the fact that Germans speak German and not English, switching only when the situation calls for it. Or that soldiers casually use cocaine, a performance-enhancing substance perfectly legal and even recommended at that time. The Germans even made a special pill containing meth, cocaine, and Oxycodone toward the end of the war.

Now, is that the ultimate pick-me-up solution or what? The cast did a solid job giving committed performances which, in turn, enhanced the atmosphere further. In the lead role, we have Donald Sutherland’s son, Rossif playing the unlikely hero who just wants to come home to his girlfriend. Charlie Carrick and especially Adam Hurtig were also great. With that being said, I would like to add that a bit of character development wouldn’t hurt Trench 11. I was struggling to care for our adventuring party as the focus was more on the atmosphere and setting. And utmost care to make the most out of the restricted budget.

It would appear that the Nazi experiments/zombie subgenre just got another welcome addition. First popularized by the late seventies movie Shock Waves, it has become increasingly popular in the past two decades. Both Dead Snow and Outpost are small but successful franchises and Overlord is there to kick some ass as well. Town Creek went in the occult direction unlike War of the Dead, a movie I didn’t like but you might. And I have yet to check out 2013’s found footage horror movie Frankenstein’s Army. It’s supposed to feature some pretty gnarly creatures…

Director: Leo Scherman

Writers: Matthew Booi, Leo Scherman

Cast: Rossif Sutherland, Robert Stadlober, Charlie Carrick, Shaun Benson, Ted Atherton, Luke Humphrey

Fun Facts: Trench 11 was in development for more than 6 years.


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